Mechanics Institute Chess Room Newsletter #278

   Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.

Muhammad Ali

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) Vinay Bhat on Chess.FM
3) Daniel Lucas new Chess Life Editor
4) Lazslo Witt (1933-2005)
5) Kramnik Speaks
6) East Bay Chess Club News
7) Leah Koltanowski (1906-2005)
8) Here and There
9) Upcoming Events

1) Mechanics' Institute Club News

Orinda High School student Sam Shankland was the surprise winner of the 6th Annual Bob Burger Open held to honor the noted master and problemist last Saturday. Shankland, rated around 2100, defeated Slovak NM Peter Zavadsky in the last round to win the five round event with 4 1/2 points. His only draw was with number two rated NM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs. The top seed, IM Ricardo DeGuzman, was defeated by Zavadsky. MI Scholastic Director Anthony Corrales directed the 39 player event which featured a high number of women with over 25 percent of the field female. This may have been due in part to the lack of a women's section in the annual Sojourner Truth event.

The Winter Marathon begins next Tuesday and runs eight rounds over nine weeks. There will be no round on Valentine's Day ( February 14).

Following up on last week's report on the People's Open there are attempts being made to rescue the tournament but nothing is certain at present. Hopefully good news will be available next week.

2) Vinay Bhat on Chess.FM

This week's guest on the internet radio show "Chess and Books with Fred Wilson" will be one of America's most successful juniors-just recently turned 21-IM VINAY BHAT.

"Fred's next guest Tuesday evening, Jan. 10th, 2006 will be one of America's most promising young talents IM VINAY BHAT. Vinay, who became the youngest ever American national master at ten years old-his record was later eclipsed by a only a couple of months by Hikaru Nakamura-competed in no less than seven World Youth Championships, from the "Boy's Under 10" in 1994 to the "Under 18" in 2001. He twice achieved a tie for 2nd and once clear 3rd place in these grueling events, going up against the likes of such powerful incipient GM's as Navara, Harikrishna, Bacrot, Miton and Akobian. Vinay has been described as having "a very mature style for his age, as he works very hard to precisely calculate during the game, but also has a good positional feel and logical approach". Since becoming a 2300+ master he is now known for being a very successful devotee of solid openings such as the French Defense and the Bb5 Sicilian. There is now a good selection of some of Vinay's best games (with his notes) at the nice website Currently an honors undergraduate at Berkeley, Vinay is in the process of completing his senior year with a double-major in both statistics and political science! Please send questions to IM Vinay Bhat about anything to do with chess study, training and practice, and especially the proper nuturing of young chess talent, to or Tony Rook".

The show runs from 8:00 to 10:00 PM (EST) every Tuesday evening. As always, there will be replays of the show almost immediately afterwards for our chess enthusiasts on the West enthusiasts on the West Coast & elsewhere, and often there will be several replays the following day.



"Those that have not had free trials CAN easily create a username and register THEN be able to hear shows! They need to go to: Click register and create a username and password THEN they are set!"

3) Daniel Lucas new Chess Life Editor

Daniel Lucas Named Publications Director/Chess Life Editor

(CROSSVILLE, TN)The U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) is pleased to announce the appointment of Daniel Lucas to the position of Publications Director/Chess Life Editor.

Mr. Lucas has been a freelance writer/editor for the past ten years. During the last year, he has been a field manager and teacher for Kid Chess in Marietta, Georgia. For the last seven years, he has been editor of Georgia Chess, which was named Best State Magazine in 2002, 2004, and 2005 by the Cramer Committee/Chess Journalists of America (CJA). Lucas is the immediate past president of the CJA.

Lucas was born in the Bronx, New York, but grew up in the south. He attended high school and college in Augusta, Georgia, graduating summa cum laude with a B.A. in Psychology from Augusta State University in 1986. Daniel married his wife Ginger, a high school English teacher, in 1993. They have two children: David, 10, and Katie, 7. When not at work, with his family, or playing chess, you will almost certainly find him on the tennis courts, where he plays in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles leagues.

In 1993, while pursuing a career in retail management in Savannah, Georgia, Lucas played his first rated game and became more deeply involved in chess. At that time, he helped revive the Savannah Chess Club and started the Savannah Chess Club Bulletin. Shortly after that he moved to Atlanta and became an officer of the Georgia Chess Association.

As Publications Director, Lucas will be involved with all USCF publications, from Chess Life to promotional materials. On a trip back to New York in 1978 with his father, Lucas saw his first issue of Chess Life at the Game Room on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and he hasn't missed an issue since then. Because of this strong emotional investment, Daniel's main goal is, he says, "To make Chess Life a magazine that can stand proudly alongside any chess publication in the world."

Daniel Lucas can be reached via email at

4) Lazslo Witt (1933-2005)

The following was published in the Montreal Gazette on 1/6/2006.

WITT, Laszlo (Leslie) died peacefully at Sunnybrook Medical Center, Toronto on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 at age 73. Husband of the late Viola Witt. Dear father of Sylvia and her husband Jim Sankey of Winnipeg. Dear brother of Eva and her husband Laci Reti of Montreal. Survived by family in Europe. Terribly missed by his extended family Pascal and Evita Richer of Toronto, and by his AVIS family. As a youth, Leslie was considered a chess prodigy. After emigrating from Hungary with his family in 1956, he continued to play chess internationally. In 1962, '63, '65, and '67, he was Quebec Open champion, and in 1962 he was Canadian Open champion with a rare perfect score. He was a member of the Canadian team at the World Chess Olympiads in 1964 (Tel Aviv), 1966 (Havana), and 1970 (Siegen, Germany). In 1969, he was recognized as an International Master. In later years, he enjoyed playing backgammon and painting in watercolours, where he was considered a gifted amateur by his teachers.

5) Kramnik Speaks

The following statement comes from Kramnik's official site at

"I would like to inform the chess community that due to health problems I shall not be able to participate in the Corus Chess Tournament 2006. A couple of years ago a form of arthritis was diagnosed. This disease causes painful inflammation in the joints. Unfortunately since that time, the symptoms have started to appear more often and with greater severity. A new recent crises makes it necessary to undertake serious clinical treatment. Solving the present problem within a few months will allow me to come back and enjoy competitive chess at the highest level. I want to stress clearly, that - as always - I am eager to continue and enhance my chess career. There are still many goals to achieve."

6) East Bay Chess Club News

Bay Area Chess League - Liga!
Season 2 begins January 28, 2006!

We are looking for more players for the Bay Area Chess League (Liga). The Liga begins with the first match on Saturday, January 28, 2006. Teams must have between 4 and 10 players, with teams playing one match against another team once a month for 5 months (until May 2006). There are still roster spots open on various teams. There are team and individual board prizes for participants; games will also be USCF rated. If you are interested, please contact us at!

For more info, take a look at last season's results and this season's rules at

East Bay Chess Club New Year's Swiss
January 14th-16th, 2006
A USCF rated 6-round Tournament in 2 sections

Prizes (based on 40 full entries, top 3 prizes guaranteed)
Open Section: $150, $100, $50; 1st U2000: $100
Reserve (U1750) Section: $100, $75, $50; 1st U1550: $75; 1st U1300: $75

Entry fee: $35 if mailed before 1/7/06, $40 at site. $5 discount for EBCC Members

Registration/Check-in: 9-9:45 AM on Saturday
Rounds: 10 AM and 4:00 PM on all 3 days (1/2 pt byes available)
Time control: 40/2, SD/1
Questions or Comments? or call (510) 845-1041

Online info and signup:

East Bay Chess Club Quads
Sunday, January 29th, 2006
Open to Players of all Ages and Strengths

How it Works: A three game USCF-rated tournament, in sections of four players each determined by USCF rating. Non-USCF members will be paired in separate unrated quads.

Entry fee: $15 if mailed before 1/22/06, $20 at site. $5 discount for EBCC Members
Prizes: $30 to the top finisher in each quad.
Registration/Check-in: 10-10:45 AM the day of the tournament.
Rounds: 11 AM, 2:30 PM, and 5:30 PM
Time control: G/90
Questions or Comments? or call (510) 845-1041

Online info and signup:

7) Leah Koltanowski (1906-2005)

The following article in the San Francisco Chronicle on December 27 was written by Steve Rubinstein who is not only one of the Chronicle's best writers but was also a close friend of George and Leah. Leah Koltanowski, the sharp-witted and untiring wife of legendary chess grandmaster and Chronicle chess columnist George Koltanowski, has died.

Mrs. Koltanowski, 99, who helped her husband run chess tournaments and compose his chess column for more than five decades, died Friday in her San Francisco apartment after a long illness.

A small woman with a keen sense of humor and a remarkable memory, Mrs. Koltanowski not only did not know how to play chess, but refused every attempt by her husband and his friends to teach her the game.

"If I learned to play," she often said with a smile, "I'd just be another chess player."

Mrs. Koltanowski was a native of Massachusetts who met her husband, then the chess champion of his native Belgium, on a blind date in New York City in 1944. The couple married a year later and moved to San Francisco in 1947. The following year, Mr. Koltanowski began writing his daily chess column in The Chronicle, continuing without interruption until his death in 2000 at the age of 96. It was the longest-running chess column in newspaper history.

At chess tournaments, club meetings or exhibitions, Mrs. Koltanowski was invariably at her husband's side. She took it upon herself to make sure that chessboards were set up properly and that players competed fairly. She often checked phone booths and lounges to make sure that players were not receiving illicit advice between moves.

Mrs. Koltanowski also helped her husband conduct his record-setting public exhibitions of "blindfold" chess, in which he would play dozens of opponents, often simultaneously, without looking at the chessboards.

She helped her husband answer mail from around the world and gather material for his column. When he would offer readers free reprints of the games from world championship matches and thousands of readers would write in to request them, it was Mrs. Koltanowski who patiently folded the leaflets, stuffed the envelopes and licked the flaps.

While Koltanowski was known for his remarkable memory at the chessboard, he often joked that he was unable to remember more mundane information, such as what to bring home from the supermarket. Mrs. Koltanowski, whose memory complemented her husband's, never forgot shopping lists, birthdays, gossip, phone numbers or the names of their friends' grandchildren.

For decades, the couple shared a Cathedral Hill apartment that was filled with chessboards, chess plaques, chess books, chess paintings, chess clocks, chess mosaics, chess awards and chess posters. The Koltanowskis turned their lights on and off using switch-plates that were decorated with chess diagrams.

Mrs. Koltanowski is survived by three nieces, Rachelle Knapp and Caroline Fainberg of New York City and Harriet Goler of Cleveland, and a nephew, William Zellen of Wayland, Mass. Services will be held Friday in Queens, N.Y., where she will be buried alongside her husband.

8) Here and There

There will be a strong round robin starting in early February in Mexico. The contestants are: Nakamura, Karjakin, Volokitin, Cheparinov, Vallejo, Dominguez, Bruzon and Ponomariov.

Wijk aan Zee: Mamedyarov replaces ill Kramnik

The following message was published yesterday by the Corus Chess Press at the official Wijk aan Zee tournament site, "Junior World Champion Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (20) from Azerbaijan replaces Vladimir Kramnik in the Grandmastergroup A of the Corus Chess Tournament. Kramnik had to withdraw due to illness. Mamedyarov made a huge jump on the latest FIDE ranking list (January 2006) and climbed up from place 28 till 15, with a rating of 2709. Mamedyarov, who won 35 rating points, ended shared second in the Grandmastergroup B of the Corus Chess Tournament 2005, behind winner Karjakin."

The final list of participants:
Topalov (ELO 2801, Place 2 in the
world ranking),
Anand (2792, 3),
Aronian (2752, 5),
Leko (2740, 7),
Ivanchuk (2729, 8),
Gelfand (2723, 9),
Bacrot (2717,12),
Mamedyarov (2709,15),
Adams (2707, 17),
I.Sokolov (2689, 24),
Kamsky (2686,25),
Tiviakov (2669, 33),
Karjakin (2660,42),
Van Wely (2647, 59).

The tournament will take place January 13-29.


The Winter Chicago FIDE Invitational GM/IM Norm Tournament where some of the top players across the country will battle it out is about to start. For those of you local to the Chicago area, the event will be held at the Best Western Hotel @ O'Hare at the corner of Higgins and Mannheim Road.

The field is
GM Nikola Mitkov (MKD) - FIDE 2552
GM Vladimir Georgiev (MKD) - FIDE 2539
GM Pawel Blehm (POL) - FIDE 2520
IM Ben Finegold (USA) - FIDE 2563
IM Eugene Perelshteyn (USA) - FIDE 2521
IM Pascal Charbonneau (CAN) - FIDE 2495
IM Stanislav Smetankin (BLR) - FIDE 2485
IM Irina Krush (USA) - FIDE 2447
IM Angelo Young (PHI) - FIDE 2416 *** Potentially will be replaced
WGM Rusa Goletiani (USA) - FIDE 2378

You can find information on this event and future Chicago FIDE Invitational events at the following addresses: (Website) (Blog)

Games will be relayed LIVE (as much as possible) on the Internet Chess Club and will also be posted on the website following the games. We will also have blogs by the players after their games to give us some insight on what was going on in their minds! Come out and show your support for your favorite participant(s).

Please pass this email along to your chess contacts. They can reply to this email if they wish to be added to the distribution list for future events.

Thank you,

Sevan A. Muradian
FIDE Chess in Chicago

9) Upcoming Events

Mechanics' Institute

Henry Gross - February 4
A.J. Fink Amateur - March 4 and 5

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